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Sep 22, 2006 03:44 PM

Southside Flying Pizza - AUS - review

We loved the place.

Everything about the pizza was superior: crust, sauce to cheese ratio, and toppings. The crust was crunchy and chewy at the same time, and perfectly cooked. The tomato sauce had just the right bite.

What we especially liked were the toppings. We had a sausage/pepper/mushroom ($14.50 for the large) and an artichoke/sundried tomato ($13.00). The toppings were generously applied and first rate. We especially liked the flavor of the sausage. They don't skimp on the toppings, and they recommended that I not get more that five toppings per pizza.

The service was very friendly, and there is a small dining room, very casual and not fancy. They serve alcohol and have a nice selection of beers.

The newspaper had an article about them. It said that the chefs have decades of experience at local restaurants (I forget which).

This is the first pizza place I have really liked in Austin. Now if I could only find a decent chile relleno.

Southside Flying Pizza is at 2206 South Congress. Their phone # is 442-4246. Cranky Yankee: I'll be looking forward to your review of the place.

Now I need to get to Flip Happy the one night they are open. And has anyone been to the new Taco Xpress, and care to comment?

Also: if you haven't been to Nu Age, on Exposition, take my word for it: it is terrific. Even if you are a carnivore. Greg Spence, are you listening? This is a place I'd like to hear your review of. (Hint: get the Thai Beancurd Wraps)

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  1. Thanks for the report. I'll have to check out the new pizza place.

    > And has anyone been to the new Taco Xpress, and care to comment?

    The food seemed unchanged from the old Taco XPress. There is more indoor seating now, though.

    > Also: if you haven't been to Nu Age, on Exposition, take my word for
    > it: it is terrific.

    I was unimpressed with this place. The Asian dishes are done better elsewhere in town and the Italian ones were pretty bad.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Brian Lindauer

      We loved it when it opened...the last TWP pizzas we got took 90 mins, were stone cold and gross. The Pizza Patron $5 one down the street is far better at this point. they need to get it together or shut down, at the VERY least appologize for the horrible product. The door flyer they put on my house today just plain pissed me off. We are both bartenders, tip well and are bowled over by the lack of response when we even sent them a letter........Use the space for a shoe store again.

        1. re: stephanieh

          i think it was supposed to be "TWO" =)

          1. re: NirvRush

            Doh! That would just make too much sense, wouldn't it? I was trying too hard to figure it out. The best I'd come up with was "The Whole Pie", but then it didn't make sense in context. Thanks! I can rest my brain now. ;-)

    2. I checked out Southside Flying Pizza recently. I appreciate the suggestions from other ‘hounds to try it, since I’m constantly looking for a good pie. To me, however, this was not it.

      This had a great deal to do with my expectations. This is not Neapolitan-style pizza, as billed by the owners and repeated in the press. [Note to restaurant “critics”: D.O.C. Neapolitan-style pizza dough contains just water, salt, flour (usually 00 pizza flour), and yeast.] Unlike Neapolitan pizza, Southside’s thick, doughy crust had no air bubbles, wasn’t light and springy, and had no flavor (not even salt). The pie also certainly wasn’t charred to perfection in a matter of minutes in a super-hot coal- or wood-burning oven, either. I assume Southside is using the term Neapolitan to distinguish their chewy, “hand-tossed” dough from New-York-style, which is thinner and more crisp. A more apt comparison would be to Shakey's Pizza, Domino’s original crust, or even Papa John’s. If you compare Southside’s pizza crust to that of these generic U.S. chains, then it seems like a decent example of the form in terms of texture, but not flavor. Personally, I don’t like this type of crust.

      Since they bill this place as Neapolitan-style, I had to try their “margherita” pizza. It’s a travesty to call their pizza by this name, even though I put it in quotation marks. A true margherita should have chunks of fresh mozzarella, along with sparingly applied tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, a touch of garlic, and a few fresh basil leaves, all on a crisp but chewy crust that's been topped with salt and olive oil. Like other places in town (Salvation, Brick Oven), Southside gave me instead a white pizza, this time with no fresh basil—baked or otherwise, but tons of cheese and plenty of raw garlic, some low-quality olive oil, and wet, tasteless, rounds of grocery-store plum tomatoes on top. The cheese used at Southside is supposed to be “imported mozzarella” and Romano, but this was not fresh mozzarella.

      Our group also ordered two regular pizzas, one topped with artichoke hearts and the other with their “signature housemade Italian sausage.” The artichoke hearts were good enough to eat on their own. They didn’t taste like the bad marinated versions that come in a jar. Thanks to travisleroy for suggesting them. The sausage, on the other hand, was incredibly disappointing. It was of the crumbled, greasy, cheap variety, and had no other discernible seasonings besides the meat. This didn’t taste like any Italian sausage I’ve had on the East Coast, let alone Italy. Instead, to me, it tasted like a very mild breakfast sausage by Jimmy Dean, or perhaps the custom-made toppings at Mr. Gatti’s, made to their specifications by the fine folks at. . . Hormel.

      The tomato sauce also appeared to be housemade, with visible chunks of crushed tomatoes, but it was mild to the point of sweetness. A bland sauce on a bland crust, along with poor-quality custom ingredients that taste no better than mass-produced ones, make for a mediocre pie.

      Further evidence of Southside’s true inspiration can be found in the housemade garlic bread. It’s a warmed up treat of margarine-drenched, garlicky grocery-store “Italian” bread, also known as ethnic Wonder Bread, heavily sprinkled with inexpensive dried oregano. You can find the same thing at a variety of red-sauce chain restaurants or in the Pepperidge Farms section of the grocery-store freezer.

      Southside’s pizza is better than chain pizza. If I wanted an inoffensive American-style pizza delivered to my house, and I lived in the delivery area, I might order one from them. Of the three pizzas I sampled, the “margherita” had the most flavor. It’s not really a margherita—It’s just an extra-cheese American-style pizza with a lot of garlic. The other pizzas were tasteless in comparison, however. With pizza, and some varieties of Tex-Mex, a ton of cheese often masks other defects.

      I’ve now tried Saccone’s, Brick Oven on 35th, Home Slice, Salvation, and Southside. My search for truly amazing pizza in Austin continues.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MPH

        Man alive, this made me laugh! Yeah, I don't think "truly amazing pizza" exists here. Thrown in the towel. Saccone's is what I use to get myself through my pizzeria pizza jones....not truly amazing, but way more delicious than the alternatives (to me). I wonder if transplanted Texas 'hounds search SF, NY, Boston or Seattle for breakfast tacos and brisket? MPH, your dedication to the pursuit of excellence is an inspiration.

        1. re: saticoy

          I know this transplanted Texan did, when I was living on the East Coast! ;-)

          You should have heard me complain about the brisket. And breakfast tacos? Forget it. I remember spending years searching for a good CFS, too. I finally found one, in New Hampshire of all places. But I can’t remember the name of the diner.

          Thanks, tom in austin, for reminding me about the prosciutto pizza at Vespaio. Though it’s a very different kind of pie, it’s easily the best I’ve had in town.


        2. re: MPH

          I recently came to the conclusion that there are really 2 kinds of pizza in my life:

          1) really outstanding ones (could be Neapolitan, NY-style, East Coast Greek style, New Haven, etc), or

          2) pizza that's merely there to address the craving.

          Southside falls in the 2nd category. But I must say, for that particular purpose, it's a very good pizza, and I'm happy that I don't have to resort to the other generic chain ones.** I quickly realized from the look of other pizzas coming out of their oven that this was not going to be a true Neapolitan pie, and I then adjusted my expectations accordingly. I don't feel as strongly as you do about the crust, MPH, as I distinctly remember it actually having flavour (to my tastes). This is part of what sets it apart from the chains. Their toppings I find, while not the best, are also better than the token Dominos.

          I've only tried a few other places in town (Home Slice, Pizza Patron, a couple of others), and I've found this one to be the best of the bunch. That's not saying much I guess, but again, for me there doesn't seem to be much in between the really great pies and all the rest.

          **I may lose any credibility I had with folks here, but the one exception I make for the chain pizzas, about once every few years, is Pizza Hut. Maybe it's nostalgia, but it might also have something to do with a deep-fried pizza just tasting good. In a very dirty way.

          1. re: MPH

            MPH, you hipped me to the delicious and reliable pizza at Enoteca. Don't forget your own discovery. The prosciutto, with arugula and runny egg, is a dream come true.

            1. re: MPH

              55 MPH, you have kindly saved me a trip south, as I've been looking for an authentic, sans-quotation-marks, Neapolitan pizza since I moved here from Seattle in 2005 and had heard rumblings that Southside may be the place. The Neapolitan government now officially sanctions restaurants outside of Italy to serve their authentic pizza (possible explanation for Southside's quotation marks). These restaurants must meet a set of stringent criteria. Tutta Bella in Seattle was one of the first sanctioned in the US and their Margherita takes you right back to Italy. I remember the first time I ate pizza in Italy and sat next to an attractive thin woman and some children, each of whom ate their own entire pie. It was a revalation that pizza could be light, fresh and subtle and not leave one with that heavy feeling afterward. If anyone discovers such a pie in Austin, please let us know!

            2. I really like Southside Flying Pizza. We've been there several times, and we consistently get a good pie. Granted, I rarely order anything more ambitious than a cheese or a mushroom and black olive pizza but I think they make a darned good pie here in Austin.

              I agree that Austin seriously lacks a stellar pizza place, but this one probably is the best we've been to in the city, and I've tried just about every place around here at one point or another.

              Oddly enough, my two favorite pizzas here in the city are Southside and the freshly made take home cheese pizza at Whole Foods downtown (not the frozen ones--ugh,but the ones in the prepared food area). I bring it home and crank up the oven as hot as I can get it, and consistently, its a decent pie. Far, far better than many at other restaurants and definitely better than anything frozen. I stick with the cheese and I want other toppings, I doctor it myself. Pretty good basic crust that I can get super crisp with a little tweaking from the oven.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shan

                I agree that the take home Whole Foods cheese pizza is pretty good, better than Austin pizzeria pizza when heated up at home as shan suggests. The only thing better that I've found in town is the pizza at Enoteca, especially the prosciutto that others have mentioned. (I must admit that I very ocassionally get a stuffed pizza from Mangia because of intense cravings for Chicago-style pizza since I used to live near that city). I'd be welcome to others' suggestions for Chicago-style pizza that is better around these parts. A search didn't turn up any hits.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. I gave up on this place after the last time they delivered, it took almost two hours, and one of the owners had to bring it in his own car. The pizza had been sitting around the entire time and I got charged full price. I took one bite and had to toss the entire thing in the trash. What a waste of my time and money.....